Paris to Berlin

I woke up this morning still no feeling very great.

I had to wake up at the crack of dawn to get the the airport for my 9:50 flight. I made it, but I feel like that was mostly luck. I didn’t realize when I left my hostel at 7, but service on half of the line I needed had been suspended for two days for repairs. Then, when I finally made it to Gard du Nord, there were announcements everywhere that the train to the airport had been shut down for the week for more engineering work.

Thank god this was just to the Charles de Gaulle. It was extremely stressful until I realized that I could still make it to Orly without any problems.

I realized that I had a migraine. I was faced with the choice between taking my naratriptan and being loopy when I went through customs, or risk waiting so long that the mess might not work. I took the pill and I am so glad I did. In retrospect, it always seems like th obvious choice. It’s just that when I’m in the middle of a migraine, I can’t think rationally about the state I’m really in.

I think I’ve been getting them as a result of the stress of travel, especially staying in hostels. Not only is it exhausting to be in a new city and a huge city, but you never really sleep well with 2-8 other people coming in and out of the room.

So I think today was a good day to spend traveling. Being on a plane or in an airport is kinda the most relaxing part of this adventure. I know most people find flying stressful, but it’s nice because as soon as you’re on the plane you don’t have to worry about anything else. You’re not racing to a museum or monument before it closes, you’re not trying to figure out your next move on the metro, you have permission to do nothing. In fact, you don’t have a choice about it. You do nothing. It’s wonderful.

Unfortunately, the Berlin airport was tiny. The reason I’m in Berlin is to join up with a trip my class is taking. They arrived about 4 hours after I did, so that’s four hours I got to just spend in the airport. Since I dont have a phone here it was really the easiest way to meet up with everyone, but I also just think it was a good way to spend the day at this point.

Since Paris and Belin are both in the European Union, you don’t pass through customs. This means no stamp in your passport, which I was very sad about. Since I had a lot of time to kill in the airport, I spent a while trying to track down someone who would stamp it for me.

The employees outside the gate didn’t seem to speak much English and I didn’t want to cause trouble at the border. I went to the airport information desk, who sent me to th Border Police. Everyone was very nice. I like Germans. They’re efficient. Unortunately, you can’t get a stamp at all unless you’re at the border. They assured me I’d get one when I passed back out of the EU, so hopefully when I head back to Brighton I’ll get a good German stamp. It’s exciting to be filling up my passport.

Wifi at the airport wasn’t free, but I could only win so many games of solitaire and lose so many games of chess (to my iPad) before I broke down and bought it.

Alarmingly, my iPad wasn’t charging at the Berlin airport. It charged fine last night in Paris, but when I plugged it in today it just made a continuous beeping noise and nothing else.

I went to the third floor of the airport, which was like a strip-mall ghost town of last minute travel agencies. There was a girl asleep on one bench and a guy (who may or may not have been homeless) asleep on another, so I followed suit. It was a really nice nap, and I set an alarm to wake up in time to meet my classmates off their plane.

It was nice to be around familiar faces again, and I love this group of people. Everyone is really great. Chris, the primary painting teacher, told me he was happy to see me and that I’m part of the family now. I don’t know if I’m all the way in the family just yet, but it was still nice to be here as maybe a family friend or something.

It’s snowing in Berlin. It feels very homey. Even though England is cold, it was wet. It felt different. Istanbul was cold and sunny and exotic, Paris was warm and sunny, but when you look out the window at the Berlin Aiport parking lot it feels like it could be any parking lot in KC. It’s a strangely nice thing.

Outside it’s not so nice. It’s freezing. It’s the first place I’ve been in Europe that gets Kansas City cold. The difference is this: in KC, you’re in the cold for as long as it takes to walk from your house to your car, and your car to your destination. Here, you walk and walk and walk. Then you get to a train platform and wait. You get to another platform, wait some more, walk some more, and it’s brutal. My shoes are soaked through.

When we finally got to the hostel, there ended up being room for me after all. Two girls who had been planning to go on the trip (and already paid for it!) ended up not coming. I got one of the free beds.

I immediately put on as many articles of clothing as possible. I brought 3 pairs of tights and 3 pairs of socks, and I wore all of them. I didn’t bring gloves or earmuffs, which I deeply regret. I don’t think I can afford to buy any while I’m here because I went so over budget in Paris. It’s an insanely expensive city, and now I have €18/day left for the next week which includes going to Dublin with Kathleen.

Fortunately, Berlin is not nearly as expensive so far. I had a really large meal tonight at a Thai place by the hotel for only €5, although that did come out of tomorrows budget. On the bright side, breakfast is provided by the hotel.

The rest of the girls in my room went out for drinks after dinner, but I just don’t have the energy. Traveling has been so exhausting. It’s also unbearably cold outside, it doesn’t sound like they knew where they were going, and I don’t have any moneys for going out right now.

Tomorrow will be an early morning, of course. It has to be when you’re traveling. Things are open early, not late. Plus, the trip doesn’t seem to be as organized as I was expecting. People are pretty much just doing whatever they want. The two teachers are getting breakfast in the hotel at 8:30 and discussing their plans for the day, so I hope to be able to join them. They have been to Berlin before and I’m sure they will have a lot of good things they want to do. It’s also alwAs interesting to travel with people who are really knowledgable, and I’d love to hear their comments about the places we go.

It turns out there is no problem with my charger. It works fine at the hostel, so it must have just been something weird with the airport outlets. Also, the wifi here appears to actually work. Leave it to the Germans… I like it here, so far. I just wish it was summer.


2 thoughts on “Paris to Berlin

  1. But experiencing Berlin’s cold will give you a better appreciation of the true nature of that city. And it keeps the tourist hive under control. Just trying to make you feel better. You will love Berlin.

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